Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Florida Road Sign

Thanks to my friend Kirk for sending me this picture of a Florida road sign.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Happy Anniversary Cindy

Thank you, my love, for the happiest 12 years of my life.

Happy Anniversary, and wishes for many, many more.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Scenes From A Recession

Boston.com has posted a series of photos from around the world that illustrate the deep effects of the recession we're all trying to make our way through.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Goodbye Kentucky, Hello Florida!

I was never a big fan of New Edition, but the lyrics to this song from their 1988 album "Heartbreak" pretty much summed up my feelings last night when I pre-posted this entry. It's a heartfelt sentiment on my part...as long as you don't actually picture me singing. Then it just becomes completely laughable. So put that thought out of your mind. Don't think about me singing these words. Seriously.

I'm Comin' Home

Save tomorrow for me
I’m comin’ home to you
Oh girl my baby

Save tomorrow for me
I’m comin’ home to you
Oh girl my baby

I just called you up
Because you’ve been on my mind
So I can tell you what I feel
Ooh I’m missing you
I’ve been away too long
Now I’m coming home to you
It’s been hard for me
To fall asleep at night--my love
Because without you
I feel so--alone
So I’m coming home

Save tomorrow for me
I’m comin’ home to you
Oh girl my baby
Save tomorrow for me
I’m coming home to you
Oh girl my baby

Since the day I left
And you went on your own way
My life’s just not the same
Ooh baby I’m needing you
And longing for your touch
Can I get a message through

I can hardly wait
To hold you in my arms
Oh girl
So don’t be busy
Cancel everything
'Cause I’m
'Cause tomorrow’s my day

Save tomorrow for me (aw baby)
I’m comin’ home to you (and I want it all)
Oh girl my baby (my baby)
Save tomorrow for me (aw baby)
I’m coming home to you (girl, I’m comin’ home)
Oh girl my baby (my baby)

Save tomorrow for me (missing you....needing you)
I’m comin’ home to you (wanting you...each and every minute of the day)
Oh girl my baby (yeah)
Save tomorrow for me (I know you know. sugar, I know you know.)
I’m coming home to you (I’m comin’ home to you)
Oh girl my baby

Away too long
Missing you so I’m comin’ home
Save me tomorrow
Away too long
Missing you so I’m comin’ home
Save me tomorrow

See you in a few short hours baby.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Wrapping Up Here In Kentucky

Today is my last full day in Kentucky. First thing this morning I'll drive to a meeting with a congressional staffer and the mayor of a city in that congressman's district. I won't get back to my office until sometime between 2 and 3pm. Then I will take care of several check-out procedures and processes, turn in my laptop, cellphone and printer, and hopefully get out of the office between 5 and 6pm.

Since my flight home leaves so early tomorrow morning, the rental car counter won't be open. Although I could drop the car and keys and let them send me the paperwork (which I've done before), I'm never comfortable with that. Instead, since I drive by the airport every day going to and from work, I'm going to drop the car off after work when the counter is still open and then have the hotel shuttle take me back to my temporary home on the road. I'll use the same hotel shuttle to leave for the airport Saturday morning at 4:45am.

Have I mentioned I'm NOT a morning person?

But, I always prefer to catch the earliest flight out, especially if there is a connecting flight to make, so that I don't get caught up in the typical late morning to late afternoon back up air traffic delays or weather issues. Although this Saturday morning the forecast is for severe thunderstorms when my flight is supposed to take off from Lexington for Atlanta. Figures, doesn't it? LOL

As always, or at least with as with most assignments, I have enjoyed my time, seen some new part of this great country of ours, learned some new things and made some new acquaintances in my professional life. All in all, it has been a great experience.

But now, I'm looking forward to seeing my wife, family and friends and celebrating our 12th wedding anniversary with a special surprise for Cindy.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

What I'll Miss Most When Print Newspapers Die

One of our writers in my department is a former journalist (actually two of them are, but the one I'm referring to is the most recent former journalist) who saw the writing on the wall a year ago and left her job as a reporter for a central Florida daily newspaper. And no, it wasn't The Orlando Sentinel.

Today we were discussing the slow death of local newspapers. This past Monday the local paper here, the Lexington Herald-Leader, laid off 53 people in its operation and asked others to take a pay cut in order to retain their jobs. This same scene is being played out across the country, as most of you already know.

I'm one of those who likes reading my news online. But when I travel to new areas for my job I DO make a habit of picking up local papers. You get a feeling for an area in their printed paper that you don't get in their online presence. Or at least I do. I'm not even sure I understand why. That might be a good subject for a future post.

A week ago, Herald-Leader reporter Tom Eblen had this piece in the paper. In it he mentions what our writer and I were talking about today and what is probably the one thing I would hate to see gone when newspapers fold or are in the process of folding; investigative reporting. The fourth estate is a major influence in keeping the lid on political corruption and business impropriety. I don't mean everyday reporting, I mean dig in and spend the time, money and resources to get to the truth of the matter. As much as I love them, local bloggers don't usually have those three necessary assets.

Looking at how the newspaper industry is shrinking and cutting costs, our writer and myself found ourselves in disagreement. She believes that in five years we will see widespread local political corruption.

I say it will be more like three, maximum.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

President Obama's Press Conference

My favorite line of the night came when CNN's Senior White House Correspondent Ed Henry asked the President, for the second time in his follow-up question, "So on AIG, why did you wait -- why did you wait days to come out and express that outrage?"

And the President replied, "Well, it took us a couple of days because I like to know what I'm talking about before I speak."

Now THERE'S a novel idea.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Paved With Good Intentions

Here is a good idea gone horribly awry.

Monday, March 23, 2009

It's An Adventure - Or A Disaster In The Making

Well, much faster than I expected, our construction loan to build the Sheepback Mountain cabin in Maggie Valley was approved this morning.

This blog's title reflects the differing viewpoints Cindy and I have. I wonder which belongs to who?

Damn bank, lol.

Now I'm being a bit overly dramatic because it's not really a disaster in the making, hopefully, but I have my concerns in this current economic climate. And don't think that Cindy and I have not talked out all of both our mutual and individual concerns with each other. We have. Sometimes very emotionally and painfully. So what I write here is not new to her. In the end we both want this, we just had different timetables in mind and we have tried to compromise in order to see this come to pass.

And now it begins. We'll most likely make our final decision on which floor plan/cabin style will be built during a conference call this Saturday with our builder. Permits will be pulled in April. We will start excavating for the basement in May, I believe, and we've been told to expect 10 months to a year for construction to be complete. While that is going on and we try to build from 600 miles away (but we have a good contractor), in Orlando we'll be continuing to get our home ready to sell. We already remodeled the bathroom in the master bedroom , but we still have to replace some floor covering, some decorative exterior wood, repaint some rooms and move many of our belongings into storage when it comes time to show the house. This has to be done while Cindy works and I am (hopefully) on the road working, so we'll have that difficulty to deal with. Oh, and we'll be trading in both our car and truck in the next few months for a 4 wheel drive vehicle that we'll need to navigate the mountainous roads in North Carolina.

If Cindy is laid off in the next round of right-sizing, we'll have to adjust our schedule accordingly, which won't be fun.

But, so far, things have worked out as and when they needed to and I hope that continues. And if they don't, well we'll deal with that too. We always do.

I REALLY hope the house sells for a good amount. That will make me feel better.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Twouble In The Twitterverse

One of the best self-cognizant faculties we have is the ability to laugh at ourselves. This had me ROFLMAO at myself.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

North Carolina Cabin

Cindy and I are finding it very difficult to balance what we want in our cabin with what we feel we can realistically afford. It would be easy if we were getting some of those AIG bonuses for ruining the economy, but we're not so we have to work within both our current budget and our projected budget in the foreseeable future.

There are some things that are "have-to's" for us such as a metal roof, a real, wood-burning fireplace, safe, non-toxic materials, a basement with room for Cindy's candle-making workshop, and either have 3 bedrooms, 2 bedrooms and a den or 2 bedrooms and a loft with the 3rd bedroom, den or loft serving as my office for writing. I'd prefer a den or 3rd bedroom, but would settle for the loft if it came down to a money issue.

We'd like to keep the actual cabin down to 1100 square feet or so, since it just be the two of us in it most of the time, either in a single-story or a 2-story layout. Plus the basement addition will provide ample room for the workshop and vehicle, thus leaving us plenty of living space in the cabin itself. We'd prefer the 2-story since it will allow us to have a smaller area footprint on the property, but if it's 2-story we need the second bedroom to be on the ground floor since it will more frequently serve as the bedroom for when Cindy's parents come to visit and we don't want them having to climb stairs any more than necessary. Same for when the grandkids come to visit, at least for the next few years while they're small.

If we choose a 2-story model, we'd like to have a wall of windows to enjoy the view from the comfort of our living room, however we're told more windows equals more cost. But then the metal roof and wood-burning fireplace also cost more, though at least they eventually pay for themselves. I guess you could say the windows would pay for themselves in terms of enjoyment and happiness, so we'll see.

I'm sure we're driving our contractor crazy, but as I shared with him, this will be the last place we live and we'd like to get it right. And be able to afford it. Other things we want to do like solar panels, gray water recycling and such can come later as we're able, but the cabin structure itself needs to be the way we want it from the start.

Anyway, that has been on our minds quite a bit lately as we have to start in May if we're going to stay on the schedule we have. It isn't always easy coordinating our schedules when I'm at home and it's even more problematic when I'm traveling. We were going to have a conference call with our builder today but he's out of town traveling, so we re-scheduled for next Saturday afternoon when I'll be back home and hopefully he will too.

If you click on the pictures it will take you to a link showing the floor plans for each of them, if you're interested in seeing what we're considering.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Welcome Spring!

Today is the first day of Spring, though you'd never guess it by the 30 degree temperature here. Here's a photo I took that hopefully will make it FEEL like Spring.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Delayed Gratification

I hadn't shared this with you yet, but I was supposed to go home this Saturday. It looked like things had slowed down enough that my boss here could handle things on his own, so he and the main office had told me I would be returning home on the 21st. I began to get into that frame of mind I always inhabit when I'm close to going home; excited to see my wife, family and friends, looking forward to relaxing some after the long hours and full weeks that are usually part and parcel of deployments, and anticipating a bit more free time to write.

Cindy complains that, from the moment I am called to prepare to go out on an assignment, my mind leaves home before my body. She is absolutely right, but the reverse is true as well. Once I know a "demobilization" date, my mind is back home before my body.

So, thinking I was going home this Saturday I braved the cold and rain this past Sunday morning to go out to The Kentucky Horse Park to take photos of horses because I thought it would be my last chance to do so and it just seemed almost sacrilegious to leave Kentucky without taking photographs of some of the marvelous equine creatures that this state is known for across the globe. As miserable as the weather was, when I was done I felt good because I had been able to do it on what I thought was my last day off while here in the Bluegrass State. I took about 500 shots and have not had time to go through them and pull the best to post on Flickr, but as soon as I do I'll post the link. Here's one I really liked.

Anyway, I did that Sunday morning for several hours and then Sunday afternoon and Monday when I got off work I began packing what I could in the suitcase and preparing a box of things to mail home. My mind was in the "I'm flying home Saturday" mode.

Tuesday morning my boss said, "Let me ask you something" and I knew before he went any further what the "something" would be, just not for how long. Anyway, he asked if I would be able to remain an additional week.

Of course being a decisive, decision-making man I replied, "Let me see if my wife will kill me or not."

She swore she wouldn't, so I'm here until March 28th. It actually works out better on a lot of different fronts, one of which is that now I will get to do a Photowalk early this Sunday morning in downtown Lexington and the weather forecast is beautiful. I have a tradition of taking an early Sunday morning Photowalk of cities in the area where I am deployed. It's a good time because of the early morning light and generally the downtown streets are empty since it's early on a Sunday morning. My schedule since arriving here has been such that this past Sunday was my last chance and I opted for the horse photos. Now I get to do the downtown Photowalk, so that gladdens my creative heart, even if it slightly saddens my loving heart.

My homecoming gratification has been delayed, but that will make it all the more sweeter.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Famous People From Kentucky

There are a LOT of famous people who were born in Kentucky. Here are just a few.

Abraham Lincoln - The 16th U.S. President was born in Hodgenville in 1809. I visited his birthplace a few weeks back.

Kit Carson - American Frontiersman was born on Christmas Eve 1809 in Madison City.

Carrie Amelia Nation - Temperance Leader was born in Garrard County in 1846.

Muhammad Ali - The "Greatest of ALL time" was born Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr.in Louisville in 1942.

Jefferson Davis - President of the Confederate States of America was born in Fairview in 1808.

Patricia Neal - Actress of stage and screen was born in Packard in 1926.

George Clooney - TV and Movie star, as well as world philanthropist, was born in Lexington in 1961.

Robert Penn Warren
- Author and poet was born in Guthrie in 1905.

Crystal Gayle - Grammy Award-winning singer was born in Paintsville in 1951.

Loretta Lynn - Singer and older sister of Crystal Gayle was born in Butcher's Hollow

Diane Sawyer - Broadcast journalist and co-host of Good Morning America was born in Glasgow in 1945.

Hunter Thompson - Journalist and author was born in Louisville in 1937.

There are many, many more that you can find here, here and here.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Monday, March 16, 2009

Top 100 Photo Sites

Web100 has posted their Top 100 Photo Websites list, featuring the best photography-related sites in categories such as, "Advice, Tutorials, and Community | Blog | Camera Reviews | Gear and Equipment | General Interest | Image Editors | Mobile | Museums | Photo Printing, Books, and Gifts | Portfolios and Photoblogs | Professional Resources and Tools | Scanning | Sharing, Storage, and Social Networking | Slideshows | Special Interest | Stock Images and Photo Archives."

See if you agree.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Louisville Firefighter Training Photos

Friday I went to an event in Louisville, KY at their Firefighting Training Academy and was able to take these photos.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Daily Misfortune

My homepage has a "Daily Fortune" widget that I seldom even notice, but the one for March 13, 2009 caught my eye:

"You are interested in public service and would make an outstanding statesman."

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

Ahh, no.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Happy Friday The 13th

There are three of them this year (a frequency that occurs only every 11 years) and I missed the one last month. One coming up in November will round out the thrice.

MSNBC has a "Five Facts About Friday The 13th" piece up on their site with some interesting nuggets for those who put stock in such things.

And I also want to wish a "Happy Wedding Day" to my step-son and his lovely bride who are getting married this afternoon in my in-laws' beautiful garden, just as I Cindy and I did almost 12 years ago.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Next 10 Newspapers To Fold

Print newspapers across the country are looking death in the eye. Some will close completely, like The Rocky Mountain News, while others will cease printing hard copies and publish only online versions, like The Christian Science Monitor.

Whichever way it goes, print newspapers are an endangered species. Like dinosaurs of old, they cannot adapt quickly enough to the Internet and the digital climate change it has brought to their world.

Time magazine has an article entitled "The 10 Most Endangered Newspapers in America" in this week's issue. See if your local newspaper is one of those predicted to cease publication in the next 18 months.

Read An E-Book Week

Read An E-Book Week (March 8th - 14th), sponsored by e-book industry leaders like E Ink, Sony Reader, Lexcycle and others, is observed "...to inform the public about the pleasures and advantages of reading electronically."

Formerly feasible only to those who wished to read them on their desktop or laptop computers, e-books are now available on specialized readers like the Kindle or Sony Reader, among others, and on Smartphones such as Blackberries, Palms and iPhones.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Memo To Medical/Pharmaceutical Industry

I would like for you to create a medicine that will simply dissolve congestion in the lungs, turning it into useful oxygen. I'm tired of using medicine that causes you to cough up said lungs, trying to expectorate the congestion like a hairball. It is painful and unpleasant.

Please get on this right away, before I hack up some other major organs.

MAD's Monday Muse

If you've looked around this page, you've seen the MAD About Words Lounge membership graphic over on the right hand column. MAD About Words is the brainchild of Winter Park writer and writing coach Mary Ann de Stefano (M.A.D., get it?), whom I've mentioned here before.

I first became aware of Mary Ann at a Florida Writers Association meeting in Maitland a few years ago when she gave a seminar that impressed me enough that I made note of her website. Later I subscribed to her e-newsletter, then joined the writers online lounge she created and we have become acquainted over the years through our blogs, e-mails and the lounge. To this day we've never actually met in person, despite being only a few miles apart. One day we'll remedy that.

Last week she asked me if I would submit a short piece for her new MAD's Monday Muse e-newsletter, which I was extremely honored and happy to do, about how I deal with the challenges of writing when I'm traveling for my regular job. This past Monday I sent her the piece and she tells me that it will be published in the upcoming Monday, March 16th edition.

I'm telling you all this so that you can go subscribe to the e-newsletter. Not only will you get some great writing advice and information each and every week, but you'll be able to read my submission in next Monday's edition.

If you're not interested in subscribing (though why wouldn't you be?) then you can also read the MAD's Monday Muse e-newsletter on the web by going to her website and clicking on the "Monday Muse" link on the left hand column.

If you go now, there's an intriguing article in this week's newsletter by Winter Park writer and artist Kären Blumenthal that was a joy to read.

Don't forget; subscribe to MAD's Monday Muse e-newsletter.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Granting Permission

If you've read this blog for a while (or gone back through all the archives) you know that occasionally I get asked for permission to use photographs I've taken and posted on the Internet. And you know that I'm always happy to have them used.

A couple of years ago, before I went on the road traveling a lot, I used to write camping and outdoors articles for Suite101.com. I enjoyed the gig and my editor, Jill Florio, was great. My content is still up on their site and they are good about making sure everything is marked as being copyrighted by the author (all rights revert to authors after a year) and I continue to get occasional small checks when page views are enough to warrant that.

Monday, in a new twist for me, I was asked for permission to use an outdoor article I had written. A trainer in Ontario sent me an e-mail asking if he could use my article "Gear Care - Camping Tent- How to properly care for your tent" in a class he was teaching to Scout Leaders. I appreciated that, because obviously he could have used it and there's small chance I would have ever known. So I was happy to grant him written permission to use the article for such a good cause and I hope it's useful to the trainer and the students.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Genuflecting With Purell

Different respiratory ailments continue to rage through our office. Stuffy noses, coughing, sneezing and body aches are the norm for most of the staff. In spite of spending every day genuflecting with Purell (I keep a bottle like the one seen here in my pocket and use it liberally), taking my vitamins and eating well, I felt the onset of chest congestion this past Saturday night. Sunday I awoke with a runny nose and the joy of coughing. So far the OTC medication I bought is holding its own; I've not gotten worse but I've not gotten better either.

Our office is like an illness incubator.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Facebook Funny Names

Last week the Washington Post had an interesting article of people with unusual names being rejected by Facebook because they felt anyone using a last name like "Batman" had to be faking it.

Personally, if I married a woman whose maiden surname was "Batman", I'd be taking HER name.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Happy (Belated) National Grammar Day

I feel like a failure as a writer and person who loves the proper use of words and grammar. I've been so busy here in Kentucky that I completely missed National Grammar Day this past Wednesday, March 4, 2009.

I hope the rest of you celebrated it in the correct manner, with all the pomp and circumstance due this important observation.

P.S. Don't forget to get up at 2am tomorrow (Sunday) morning and turn your clocks AHEAD 1 hour!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Winter Waterfalls

Here in Central Kentucky there are quite a few of the roads that were cut right through small mountains of rock, like you see in the photo below. These are not tunnels through the mountain, but more like they were just sliced through the entire mass of rock.

As a result, you can see some very beautiful designs in the rock, both in color and arrangement, that can be downright distracting to a Floridian like myself who is not used to such a thing.

However, even more mesmerizing to see are the frozen waterfalls that form in the cold temperatures on the exposed rock facings up here when rain falls or snow melts.

Even more interesting is the fact that these frozen pieces of nature's art are not formed by water running off the top of the rock, but from water seeping through the cracks of the rock strata itself.

They are really quite beautiful to see as you're driving along the roads that cut through these small mountains of natural formed rock.

I just wanted to try and share these gorgeous winter waterfalls with you. I hope you enjoy.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Death Of A Hard Drive

Tuesday morning the hard drive on my work laptop bit the dust. I tried to boot up and it kept stalling during the VPN connection process. I tried 3 separate times to re-boot (with the same hanging up results) before calling over IT. They worked on it for a while and eventually declared the hard drive to be "non-responsive" and let me know I'd have to turn that one in and go get a new one issued to me. I was asked if I had much data on that one that I would need.

Fortunately, I back up my work on my own personal flash drive and on the network common drive. Except for one thing.

"Can you try and salvage my .pst file? I have work-related e-mail that I really, really would rather not lose."

"We'll try, but it doesn't look hopeful."

It was better than "No way, Jose!", especially since my name is not Jose.

So, I was 2 hours late just getting started working that morning, by the time they decided "it was dead, Jim" (again, NOT my name but you know how IT people are) and I got my new (new to me) laptop. The .pst file was a different matter. It was another 6 hours (4pm) before the tech returned, but they were successful in retrieving my .pst file. After a short import function, all my e-mail files were sitting back in my respective mailbox folders and I was a smiling drone.

Now I'm wondering if I should get in the habit of backing up my .pst file to my flash drive every evening before shutting down.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

This & That

Here's a lot of little things that aren't lengthy enough to warrant their own blog post.

There is a guy up here who does a syndicated traffic report for several of the radio stations and his voice sounds just like Zephyr, a friend of Cindy's and mine in Orlando. Zephyr has a pretty distinctive voice and I wouldn't characterize it as a "radio voice", but this guy sounds just like him in tone, timbre and enunciation. It certainly "woke me up" the first morning I was driving to the office and heard him do the traffic.

I was driving down to Somerset, Kentucky last week for a meeting and I noticed that the closer I got to Nashville (which is only 170 miles from Somerset) the more the radio dial filled up with country music stations. I was so glad I had brought my mp3 player with me. Fair warning.

The Watchmen movie opens this Friday night. I've already got my ticket from Fandango for the 7pm showing, which I SHOULD be able to JUST make after getting off work. It lasts almost 3 hours, so I didn't want to try to go to the later show and be getting back to the hotel at 2am when I have to be back at work at 8am Saturday morning.

Monday I ate lunch at a place I had never tried before called Qdoba Mexican Grill. I ordered the chicken grilled Quesadilla which was 3 times the cost of a Taco Bell chicken Quesadilla but at least 10 times better. Thicker, with more chicken, cheese and fresh pico de gallo. It was delicious and filling! Do they have these in Florida? I can't remember seeing one.

And here's a couple of things that I found I had written in my old mini-composition book when I cleaned it out Monday evening to begin using my new moleskine notebook:

Competing Hotel Commercials

I was sitting in the lobby of the Comfort Inn Suites in Cedar Falls, IA on a Sunday afternoon while housekeeping was cleaning my room. I was reading and occasionally looking up at the TV as "Kill Bill 2" was being aired. Twice there were commercials for other hotel chains; once for Best Western and once for Hampton Inns. I wondered if hotels ever think of trying to find a way to block other chain's commercials to guests while they're staying in their hotel? On the other hand, unless someone is already unhappy with their current lodging, does anyone really see a commercial for a competing hotel and say, "Damn, I'm packing up and moving over there"?

A Child's Smile

I walked into the men's room the other day in a restaurant. There was a dad with his toddler son and the son was just finishing up a man's "business" and obviously pleased with himself. As I walked in and he saw me he smiled the biggest smile of happiness. I smiled back, smiled at his dad and then thought about how there is something so pure and unpretentious in a child's smile. No agenda, no ulterior motive, no making a mask of the smile to hide anything behind it...just an honest expression of happiness. It's a shame we lose that as we get older.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Amazon And Text-to-Speech Feature on Kindle 2

I've only peripherally been paying attention to this issue that came about when Amazon released the new Kindle 2 with a "read aloud" text-to-speech feature. I read Neil Gaiman's and Wil Wheaton's blogs and Twitters about the subject and think I am probably in agreement with them; that this is not the same as an "audio book" read with feeling by a real person, but rather an electronic rendering much like the computer on Star Trek or your GPS. No feeling, no sense of timing. Just words pronounced by a synthesizer. Not something most of us would want to listen to for hours on end.

This seems to be a great feature for the visually-impaired, but I'm not sure ANYONE would want to listen to a synthesized voice for the length of a typical novel. Perhaps a newspaper or magazine article (which Kindle 2 allows you to download), but not a novel.

Still, from my limited point of view, it seems more than fair of Amazon to allow the author and/or publisher to decide whether they want to block or enable the text-to-speech feature on their own works.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Sunday Bloody Sunday

So as much as I wanted to just hermit myself in the hotel room Sunday I just couldn't see spending the entire day holed up like a prisoner.

To begin with, I woke up earlier than I intended because of a nightmare. Something is going on with that and I'm not quite sure what it is, but I have a theory.

I don't usually have nightmares. Dreams yes, nightmares, no. My dreams are almost always very realistic, and unfortunately so are my nightmares. Still, as I said, I don't usually have nightmares. But for the first time in years I had one while I was in Missouri last November and now this one Sunday morning. Like the one in Missouri, this one was so painful that I woke up crying uncontrollably, just as I had been doing in the nightmare itself because of what had happened and even in the same physical position; huddled in a ball on my knees, my body racked with pain from crying so hard I could not get my breath. This was the kind of crying that physically hurts you inside with its intensity, like your guts are being twisted. The kind that comes from a total despair that you think you will never recover from for the rest of your life. I don't recommend it as a way to be awakened.

My theory, though totally unsubstantiated by ANY professional psychologist, is that it has to do with a story idea I've been working on in bits and pieces for several months that involves some pretty intense and gruesome scenes. I'm wondering if my mind is rebelling against what I've been putting it through, or if this will somehow augment the work I'm doing on a certain character in the story. Maybe I'm just not cut out to be a fiction writer because I get too involved, or at least a writer of this kind of fiction, but the story idea still feels like a good premise.

Anyway, after a shower and then breakfast at a nearby Perkins Restaurant using a 20% off coupon, I headed out for the closest Waldenbooks (which was at a mall not far from the University of Kentucky campus) to use a 25% off coupon to purchase something Cindy encouraged me to buy several months ago. But being the skinflint that I am when it comes to most things for myself, I went with the cheaper idea I had and it didn't hold up.

I usually use a digital voice recorder to make note of ideas or things I want to be sure to remember. I love my digital recorder. But sometimes you're in a situation where it just is not polite to use it. There are times when it is much more unobtrusive to jot a note down. I had toyed with the idea of getting some moleskine notebooks, but after finding the little pocket-sized composition book for .99 cents as opposed to $4 for the moleskine notebook in a comparable size, I opted for the cheapest item.


The pocket-sized composition books are just not sturdy enough to withstand the beating I give them in my typical usage. I had to tape this one back together when the glued cover and some of the pages started coming apart. I decided that it would be in my best interest to go ahead and spend the extra money for the moleskine notebooks, which have a sturdier cover and pages that are stitched in rather than glued.

But, still being the cheapskate that I am, I was reluctant to buy them in their standard 3 for $12 packet until I got this 25% off coupon and decided I could knock $3 off that price and feel better about buying them.

I'm so easily manipulated, as Cindy well knows.

Driving to the mall I passed through downtown Lexington. I had been wanting to see "The Wrestler", but it was only showing at one theater in the area, The Kentucky Theater, and I mistakenly thought that theater was somewhere else. Driving down the main street of Lexington I passed the old theater (it still has the pointed marquee so traffic from both directions, though this is now a one-way street, can see the advertised movie) and realized I could see the movie on my way back to the hotel. And I did. Plus it was only $4.50 to see a first-run movie before 6pm, instead of the $6.50 other theaters in the area charge.

Downtown Lexington is an attractive area with a mix of old and new architecture. It was WAY too cold and windy Sunday to do a Photowalk and I was too tired anyway, but I hope that the weather gets a little warmer on one of my days off so I can get some shots before I leave.

After the movie I returned to my hotel room and, after a little reading and writing and some soup for dinner, was back in bed sleeping soundly.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Wrestler

I went out for a bit today to run a couple of errands. Decided while I was already pretending to be alive like the other people I saw that I would go catch a movie I have been wanting to see since it debuted, but just haven't had the time. "The Wrestler" was showing at an old downtown Lexington theater (those old movie theaters are SO cool) in the early afternoon and I arrived just as it was starting.

Mickey Rourke gave a great and believable performance. I enjoyed it and it brought back a lot of memories.

Going to bed. Another long week ahead. G'night.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...